And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.
On Monday I sat with a woman named Betty before the Bible study. She was attacked on the road several weeks ago by a family who wants her husband to take their daughter as another wife. Betty didn’t want her husband taking other wives (imagine that!), and thus the attack. Six people beat her mercilessly and she was unable to move around for about a week. I prayed with her and encouraged her to make sure her and her three children are safe. Thankfully, the clan elders are stepping in and trying to resolve the matter. (This is the village justice system.)
Last week in the prison, a woman came forward to get saved. She had a beautiful smile on her face as she publicly proclaimed that she wanted Jesus to forgive her sins and she wanted to follow him. I later found out that she is in the prison for murder. She was the house girl (maid) for a certain man and his wife. She also got impregnated by the man. I don’t know many details, but she and the wife conspired to murder the man. Together, they brutally took his life with a machete. Here she was, with her young baby in her arms, smiling. I couldn’t imagine that just six weeks before she committed such an atrocity. (And truly, I was so blown away and in awe of God’s love and mercy once again!)
Another man last week beat his wife to death with a hammer and then took pills to commit suicide. Their three-year-old daughter is now an orphan.
Daily we hear reports of young children being abused and defiled.
If you walk the streets of Kitgum, you would think the war is over. Technically, the rebel war has been over for several years now. People are living on their land, in “peace,” rebuilding their lives. I don’t fear when I walk the streets, and I’m greeted with friendly people smiling back at me. It’s hard to imagine all of the rage and trauma that lies just beneath the surface…but it’s there, just the same.
And it comes to the surface more and more frequently these days.
You see, NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) poured into this place during the war. They handed out food, supported children through school, reintegrated child soldiers into the communities, funded hospitals, and other such necessary things. But the war ended, the contracts finished, and they packed up and left. The church community held crusades and outreaches, made many converts, but many never bothered to disciple and walk with the people, or teach them how to follow the God they confessed. In a way, the people of Kitgum have been failed. In a way, they were dropped like a hot potato so people could go to the next exciting war zone, make the big headlines and do the work that gets noticed. (I’m not trying to bash NGOs. I know there are some that are genuinely doing a great work.)
Meanwhile, the people are still here, with this pain just beneath the surface. The pain leaks out when things are difficult or memories are triggered. They need help. They need discipleship, love, and godly counsel.
This is something that keeps resonating in my heart lately. I don’t know specifically how God will use our small team to take part in this, aside from what we are doing now; but I am open, and I am committed to loving them through their pain. Not because I’m great, but because God loves each of us through our pain and He is committed to us. He sticks around after the smoke settles and only ashes remain.
He is there in the crisis and He is there in the rubble to help us put our lives back together.
I know that He hasn’t forsaken the people here, and that though there are maybe just a few of us here, He can do a great work through a small person who is willing.
I’m eagerly anticipating God moving the people ahead in victory.
Maybe you needed this reminder today, that He is close to you and He doesn’t leave the work half done. Unlike NGOs who are restrained by budgets, programs and deadlines, God is willing to sit with us and patiently heal us step by step.
One day (soon) God will remove every sorrow, and tears will be a thing of the past. We will know complete joy, peace, and fulfillment in His Presence for all of eternity. In the meantime, He wants to prepare us for that by renewing and healing us day by day.
He is faithful to stand by you through the process, and gently remove those things that lurk just beneath the surface. He is the master potter, looking in His mind’s eye at the finished product that we will become. (I am so thankful that He is doing this in my life, and that He won’t give up!!)
What do you think?
What has God been revealing to you lately? Let Him show you your heart and remove the dross so that you can be totally free.
Please share this with someone who you think will be blessed.